Don't settle for your smart TV's built-in speakers. Investing in one of the best soundbars can bring out the full audio quality of your TV shows, movies, and games.
After testing dozens of soundbars on the market, we've found the Sonos Playbase to be the best soundbar overall for those willing to spend a premium, thanks to its rich sound and versatility as a home theater speaker.
For those on a budget, the Vizio SB2920 ($78.99/£100/AU$150) tops our list of the best cheap soundbars under $100. We're also fans of the new Bose Soundbar 500, which delivers rich sound and support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for a solid price, as well as the Roku Smart Soundbar, which packs a built-in 4K HDR Roku player.
What you need to know about Black Friday 2019
If you're currently in the market for a soundbar, you should probably hold out for the slew of Black Friday deals that will be popping up as we get closer to the holiday shopping season. We're already seeing some solid discounts on top models from Bose, LG, Yamaha and more, though the best soundbar deals will likely pop up starting on Black Friday (Nov. 29) and going throughout the weekend. We're talking hundred-dollar or more discounts on some of our top picks, including the Polk MagniFi Mini and Yamaha YAS series. Plus, follow our Cyber Monday deals coverage for the best post-Thanksgiving day deals.
1. Sonos Playbase
The best soundbar overall
Size: 28.35 x 14.96 x 2.28 inches | Inputs/Outputs: Ethernet, Optical Audio | Audio Channels: N/A | Bluetooth: No (Wi-Fi capable) | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No
The premium Sonos Playbase features just about everything you could want in a soundbar, offering room-filling sound within a slick design that will look great in your entertainment center or directly under your TV. That's why it's the best soundbar you can buy.
The Playbase is big on bass and offers rich vocals thanks to its 10 custom-made drivers, and it does a great job doubling as a Wi-Fi speaker for any of your favorite music apps. Best of all, it can be paired with any other Sonos speakers in your home for the ultimate multiroom experience, and supports voice commands via Amazon's Alexa.
Read our full Sonos Playbase review.
2. VIZIO SB2920-C6
A very good soundbar under $100
Size: 28.75 x 3 x 3 inches, 4.5 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: Stereo RCA, 3.5mm, coaxial, optical, RCA sub, USB | Audio Channels: 2.0 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Vizio SB2920 is one of the best soundbars for the price, delivering an immersive soundstage, crisp treble and solid bass despite not having a subwoofer. Ideal for smaller TVs, this 28-inch also packs Bluetooth support for easy music streaming.
Read our full Vizio SB2920 review.
3. Yamaha YAS-108
Our top soundbar pick under $200
Size: 35 x 5.1 x 2.1 inches, 7 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical, analog audio, subwoofer, HDMI | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: 27W | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Yamaha YAS-108 offers an impressive amount of features for a $200 soundbar, including HDMI, 4K passthrough, a variety of sound modes and Bluetooth support for jamming out to music. It also packs excellent sound into its small design, offering crisp highs and satisfying bass thanks to built-in subwoofers that boost the low end without the need for additional speakers.
Read our full Yamaha YAS-108 review.
4. Polk MagniFi Mini
The soundbar to get for smaller spaces
Size: 13.4 x 4.3 x 3.1 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI, Digital Optical, Ethernet, USB | Audio Channels: 5.1, stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No
No soundbar packs huge audio into a tiny package quite like the Polk MagniFi Mini does. This unassuming speaker will fit seamlessly into any setup, and delivers crisp dialogue and deep bass with the help of its included wireless subwoofer. Plus, with Google Cast support, the MagniFi Mini doubles as a great home music speaker.
Read our full Polk MagniFi Mini review.
Alexa integration at a great price
Size: 36.6 x 4.3 x 2.5-inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical in | Audio Channels: Stereo, DTS Virtual X Surround | Bluetooth: Yes
The Yamaha YAS-209 is an excellent package for the price, getting you great overall sound, a wireless subwoofer for beefy bass and Alexa support for handy voice controls. The soundbar itself is one of the sleeker models we've tested, with a 36-inch design that should look great under most TVs. The soundbar's four 1.75-inch drivers deliver immersive sound for movies and shows, and its Alexa functionality makes it easy to control any smart device in your home -- even when the soundbar is off.
Read our full Yamaha YAS-209 review.
6. Sonos Beam
Big sound and controls your smart home
Size: 25.6 x 3.9 x 2.7 inches, 6.2 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, optical audio, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2 | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: No
The Sonos Beam is a small, affordable and great-sounding soundbar that also doubles as a neat smart home gadget. This speaker has full Alexa integration, allowing you to, say, control your Fire TV with just your voice, or ask about the weather or control your smart lights while binging Netflix from the couch. It also delivers big on the audio front for its price, with a wide soundstage and crisp dialogue that will make your favorite movies and shows sing.
Read our full Sonos Beam review.
Size: 31.5 x 4 x 1.8 inches, 7 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI ARC, eARC, CEC, Optical, USB | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Bose Soundbar 500 is an incredibly well-rounded package, offering rich sound, foolproof ease-of-use and support for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice controls. The Soundbar 500's slim design fits seamlessly into most home entertainment setups, and supports HDMI ARC, which allows you to use the soundbar to control any device hooked up to your TV.
For a slim soundbar without a subwoofer, the Soundbar 500 delivers impressively crisp dialogue for movies and TV shows, and offers solid bass when you're thumping music via Bluetooth or AirPlay 2. Factor in reliable voice assistant controls and a painless setup process, and you've got one of the best soundbars available for the price.
Read our full Bose Soundbar 500 review.
8. Roku Smart Soundbar
Soundbar meets streaming player
Size: 32.2 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches, 5.5 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI ARC, Optical In, USB 2.0 | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: N/A
If you're looking for an affordable soundbar and don't yet have a reliable streaming player, the Roku Smart Soundbar gives you both in the same package. This soundbar doubles as a fully-featured 4K HDR Roku player, giving you access to every top streaming app including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
The Smart Soundbar also delivers solid audio for the price, pumping out strong bass and crisp treble (you can pair it with the optional $180 Roku Wireless Subwoofer if you want more low end). Roku's soundbar even supports Alexa and Google Assistant for easy voice controls. While you'll get more refined sound from some of the higher-end speakers on this list, the Roku Smart Soundbar offers a compelling mix of sound quality and functionality for streaming junkies.
9. Samsung HW-N850
Surround sound experience without multiple speakers
Size: 48.3 x 5.4 x 3.3 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, HDMI (2), optical | Audio Channels: 5.1.2 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: 372W | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Samsung HW-N850 is one of the few soundbars that can replace a full home theater setup. Packing a big, bassy subwoofer and support for immersive Dolby Atmos audio, this beastly 48-inch bar will immerse you in your favorite shows and movies without forcing you to put a myriad of speakers all over your living room. Add in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HDMI Arc support, and you've got an excellent premium soundbar that is as engrossing as setups that cost hundreds of dollars more.
Read our full Samsung HW-N850 review.
How we test the best soundbars
When testing for inclusion in our best soundbars page, we play a range of media — including movies, music and games — in order to evaluate overall sound quality. We also test any companion software that may come with a soundbar, and factor in how easy it is to set up and use each device.
Other features we consider include a soundbar's inputs, outputs and ability to be wall mounted, all of which determine how well it will work with your home entertainment setup. We also take into account each soundbar's wattage, its supported audio channels and whether it includes a subwoofer — all factors that greatly affect how each speaker will sound in your living room.
Understanding Dolby Atmos in the best soundbars
More and more of the best soundbars are embracing Dolby Atmos, which is a surround sound technology designed to simulate the immersive 3D audio you'd get from a movie theater. The big difference between Atmos and traditional surround sound is that you'll hear sound move up and down and not just side-to-side, allowing you to get extra immersed when, say, a car flies overhead in an action movie. There are already lots of soundbars that support Atmos, including the LG SJ9, Sony HT-ST5000, and Yamaha YSP-5600. For more on the technology, check out our complete guide to Dolby Atmos.
What the best soundbars cost
You can get a decent soundbar for less than $100 (£100/AU$150) as long as you're not expecting much in the way of special features. Stepping up to the $200-$300 range will get you extras such as a subwoofer and virtual surround sound, though you'll spending closer to $500 (£500/AU$650) if you want fancy extras like Hi-Fi audio and 4K passthrough. Dolby Atmos soundbars can be found for quite cheap now, but higher end models loaded with bells and whistles can easily cost you thousands.